Boom in Canada-China research collaborations by ProQuest


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									  CMAJ                                                                                                                                  News
Boom in Canada–China research collaborations
Published at on Nov.18

     n the winter of 1938, Dr. Henry
     Norman Bethune left Canada and
     arrived in China’s Shanxi province
during the Second Sino–Japanese War.
Virtually unknown in his home coun-
try, he worked with Mao Zedong’s
Communist Party performing emer-
gency battlefield surgeries, set up
blood transfusion stations and created a
training program for doctors, nurses
and orderlies.
   Most knew Bethune by his Chinese
                                               © 2009 Jupiterimages Corp.

name, Bai Qiu En, a man who became a
national hero after dying in 1939 of
blood poisoning. Mao Zedong was so
inspired by Bethune’s acts that he wrote
an essay, “In Memory of Norman
Bethune,” that, years later, children still
memorize and recite. A medical school
                                                                             Thousands of Canadian medical professionals and researchers have travelled to China
and a hospital were nammed in                                                to work on a variety of research projects and exchanges.
Bethune’s memory.
   Thousands of Canadian medical
professionals and researchers have fol-                                     returned 17 years later to help set up a    ment in research (an average annual
lowed in Bethune’s footsteps, travelling                                    collaborative program between the Rui       increase of 18% between 1995 and
to China to work on a variety of                                            Jin Hospital Burn Unit and the Ross         2006) includes a strategy to increase
research projects and exchanges.                                            Tilley Burn Centre in Toronto.              collaboration with top Western scien-
   It’s a practice that is booming, and                                        As China continues to evolve into        tists, Beaudet adds. For example, he
almost weekly, it seems, there are                                          one of the world’s major scientific         cites recent negotiations on expanding
announcements from Canadian govern-                                         players, such projects will only con-       an existing $300 000, three-year agree-
ments or universities about new collab-                                     tinue to multiply, predicts Dr. Alain       ment with the Natural Sciences Foun-
orative projects with China.                                                Beaudet, president of the Canadian          dation of China, which now funds 20
   “There is tremendous opportunity                                         Institutes of Health Research, which        projects across the spectrum of biomed-
for research between Canada and                                             has inked four separate research agree-     ical research. “And they don’t want to
China,” says Dr. Massey Beveridge,                                          ments with the government of China          just fund more people. They want to
who founded the Office of International                                     and plans to significantly expand that      fund them at a higher level, so that
Surgery at the University of Toronto in                                     portfolio in the future.                    they’ll attract even better scientists,
Ontario and now practises in northern                                          China is “investing massively in sci-    which I think is telling.”
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